“Strachan absolutely hated him.”
Aiden McGeady has offered some insight into his time with Celtic and the feud between manager Gordon Strachan and Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen.
Gravesen joined Celtic from Real Madrid in the summer of 2006. The Dane had been a surprise transfer for Real, joining them from Everton in January 2005. He cost Celtic £2m the following year and was a signing sanctioned by Strachan.
Yet, as McGeady details, he soon fell out of favour under the Celtic coach.
Aiden McGeady: Thomas Gravesen and Gordon Strachan hated each other.
“Strachan and Tommy just hated each other,” McGeady said on the Open Goal podcast.
“I don’t know why they hated each other. Strachan signed him, but after five games he was like, ‘I’ve had enough of this guy’.
“‘Play centre-mid, mate,’ (Strachan would tell him). And Tommy was like, ‘I play on the right-wing’.”
McGeady says Gravesen was the best five-a-side footballer he had ever played with, and that the Dane had brilliant technique, but “couldn’t bring it all together” in games for Celtic.
The Republic of Ireland international goes on to say that Strachan’s dislike for Gravesen was so great, the Celtic manager told him not to speak to the Danish midfielder ahead of a cup final.
Aiden McGeady: Gordon Strachan told me not to speak to Thomas Gravesen the week of the cup final.
“Strachan absolutely hated him,” McGeady said.
“We had the Scottish Cup final and a week before it, Strachan pulled me and went, ‘Right, you’re starting the final, but if I see you talking to Tommy Gravesen this week in training, you’re not starting’. And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’
“He went, ‘Listen, anything he says, don’t listen to him, because I know he’s quite tight with you and I see him talking to you a lot. But whatever he says, ignore him.’
“I said, ‘What am I meant to do? I get on well with Tommy’,” McGeady continues.
“Strachan said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care. If I see you talking to him, you’re not starting the Scottish Cup final.
‘So, for a full week, Tommy would come up to me in training, ‘Are you all right, la?’ And I would be like… I’d turn away and go do a stretch. This was for a full week in training.
“After about a year, Strachan just went, ‘I’m not going to play this guy’. And Tommy just started to go the other way with him to annoy him.”
Gravesen re-joined Everton on loan after just one season at Celtic Park. The Scottish club released him when his contract expired in 2008 and the Dane retired soon after.
Gravesen now reportedly lives in Las Vegas and is said to have made a fortune away from football.
You can watch the section on Gravesen from 20 minutes onwards.
Originally published on November 22, 2020.